Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Higgins Report: Shatter says Taoiseach has duty to correct Dail record

Former justice minister Alan Shatter
Former justice minister Alan Shatter
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter will write to Taoiseach Enda Kenny demanding he correct the Dáil record following the publication of Justice Kevin O’Higgins report on allegations of Garda misconduct.

In a statement, Mr Shatter said Mr Kenny now has a “duty” to correct the Dáil record after the Justice O’Higgins found the former justice minister acted appropriately in his dealings with Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

He said Mr Kenny “entirely ignored” concerns he raised about a report by barrister Sean Guerin – the findings of which led to the establishment of Justice O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, and ultimately Mr Shatter’s resignation.

“Both in my engagements with the Taoiseach and in the Dail Chamber, I disputed his findings against me,” Mr Shatter said.

“My concerns were entirely ignored by the Taoiseach and my Dáil contribution was not only ignored by all sides in the Dáil Chamber, including the Minister for Justice, but also ridiculed and criticised by some commentators,” he added.

He also called on Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to explain why he chose to ignore the fact that Sgt McCabe’s allegations occurred when his party was in government.

“Now that we are in the era of “new politics”, I hope that Michael Martin and all of my accusers, then in opposition, will now reflect on how they dealt with these matters and withdraw on the Dáil record the false allegations they made,” Mr Shatter said.

The former minister said Justice O’Higgins Commission of Investigation found he had “very substantial concerns” about Sgt McCabes’s complaints and dealt with them “professionally” and “appropriately”.

“I am relieved that the truth has been established and that the O’Higgins Commission “unreservedly” accepted my evidence that I never held views, opinions or attitudes “wrongly attributed” to me by Mr Oliver Connolly, the former Confidential Recipient and  recorded and transcribed by Sgt McCabe,” Mr Shatter added.

This relates to a recording read into the Dáil record in which Mr Connolly is alleged to tell Sgt McCabe that “if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished".

This evening An Garda Síochána released a statement saying they accept the findings and recommendations of the report.

"An Garda Síochána welcomes that there was no finding of corruption against any member of An Garda Síochána by the Commission. The Commission also found that the 'failures investigated by the Commission were at a human level'.

"The Commission’s report is comprehensive and extensive, and is now being reviewed by the Commissioner and her management team in detail to examine what lessons can be learnt and ensure any issues arising are addressed."

"Following a number of reports in recent years, improvements in relation to how An Garda Síochána conducts investigations, manages incidents, trains its personnel, and liaises with victims of crime have been introduced or are in the process of being introduced as part of An Garda Síochána’s modernisation and renewal programme which will be published in the coming weeks."

The statement went on to list a series of improvements that have been introduced to the force.

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